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2017 Recipients

CARE Award

4th Quarter Recipients


Andrea Brunson receiving award

Andrea Brunson
Assistant Director, Student Affairs
Heritage College, Dublin

Assistant Director of Student Affairs Andrea Brunson goes above and beyond in her efforts to support students at the Heritage College, Dublin, whether through reviewing CVs, discussing summer opportunities or providing advice about how to organize events or outreach activities. For example, when the Dublin campus recently hosted a “Bobcats Who Care” suicide prevention workshop, Brunson helped ensure that the event ran smoothly – just as she’s done with countless other student organizational activities throughout her time at the college.

By always following up with answers to questions and encouraging students to pursue leadership opportunities, she’s become a respected cheerleader and friend to students in all four classes in Dublin. And her dedication to helping everyone be successful has not gone unnoticed by her student nominators. “You will always find Andrea working diligently on a multitude of tasks,” said one nominator. “She is the first to go above and beyond in terms of both the quality and quantity of work she does, and it is all because of her devotion to the success of students at the Heritage College.”


Jodi Fluellen receives award

Jodi Fluellen
Administrative Specialist
Office of Academic Affairs – Clinical Education
Heritage College, Dublin

Upbeat, encouraging, cooperative and the glue for her team. That’s how nominators describe Administrative Specialist Jodi Fluellen, who works in the Office of Academic Affairs ­ Clinical Education at the Heritage College, Dublin. Fluellen is known for treating everyone with respect and care, whether she’s confirming rotations with preceptors, coordinating rotation details with medical education partners, checking in with students or working alongside other team members in the office. And she’s known for her ability to keep the work in a busy office flowing smoothly and taking on complicated tasks – all with a smile on her face. “Students rely on Jodi to help keep them organized and on track,” said one nominator. “They appreciate her motherly nudges and reminders, yet they respect her, and seek her out for encouragement and advice, and sometimes just for a hug!”

Because of her ability to quickly and easily engage with others, Fluellen also is charged with maintaining relationships with clinical faculty and their staff. “Jodi is extremely tactful and polite even when needing to remind someone about a commitment they made,” said one nominator. “She is highly persuasive and is remarkably successful at convincing people to do things. Whenever we are in a bind and down to the wire, we call upon Jodi to perform her magic and make things happen.”


Erin Murphy receives award

Erin Murphy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Bacteriology
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Heritage College, Athens

Colleagues describe Associate Professor Erin Murphy, Ph.D., as a faculty leader who goes out of her way to make the college a better place to study and work through her patience, her empathy and her ability to see multiple sides of issues. “Her leadership as a faculty officer and on the shared governance initiative have helped to transform the climate for all faculty, administrators and staff in our college,” said one of her nominators. “She has demonstrated a willingness to listen to everyone, and I have witnessed her on many occasions carefully consider all sides of difficult issues.”

Murphy also is an accomplished researcher who provides valuable input to others within the Department of Biomedical Sciences and throughout the college. “I’ve had the pleasure of seeing first-hand what a collaborative, engaged and thorough research Erin is,” said another nominator. “She is the type of faculty member who is extremely valuable but likely doesn’t get the recognition she deserves. She is an ideal citizen to the students, the department and to the university.”

3rd Quarter Recipients


Eric McFadden receives award

Eric McFadden
Digital Media Support Technician
Office of Information and Learning Technologies
Heritage College, Athens

Digital Media Support Technician Eric McFadden is known for his low-key personality, but his talent for detailed thinking and process planning is nothing less than extraordinary, said his nominators. Over the past year, McFadden has spent hundreds of hours working alongside our admissions staff on two vital projects - the AACOMAS application for prospective medical students and an interview day score sheet. "If you are unsure as to how these applications are vital to the college, just think of where we would be without qualified students, and you'll get a glimpse into the magnitude of his work," said one of his nominators.

The application project required him to make more than 1,800 pieces of data fit into an application management system that allowed for only 500. The interview score sheet project required integrating information from student applications into point tables with scoring mechanisms and completely overhauling what was once a paper-only process into a completely electronic method of recording student selection advisory committee thoughts and decisions.

And if the magnitude of the work wasn't enough to earn him accolades, McFadden delayed his planned family vacation to ensure that the application management system would be operational when the AACOMAS application system opened on June 15. "It wasn't even a question for him," said a nominator. "He was not going to leave until he was certain that we were able to receive and process applications so that we would not fall behind right out of the gate."


Alex Vaughn receives award

Alexander Vaughn
Maintenance Coordinator
Heritage College, Dublin

"Did you call Alex?" is a phrase repeated countless times throughout the day at the Heritage College, Dublin. Be it an event setup, an office that's too hot or too cold, or a custodial or vendor concern, Maintenance Coordinator Alex Vaughn handles it all - and often all at once.

Although he usually works behind-the-scenes, Vaughn is well-known among staff, faculty and students as the go-to person for facility needs on the Dublin campus. "In a day, Alex can be found directly leading our operational efforts as the primary conduit to our property management firm and plethora of vendors stretching the gamut of specialty/expertise from water features, campus security, HVAC and landscaping to the everyday custodial needs," said his nominator.

With his growing expertise, Vaughn often helps solve developing issues before they become major problems, minimizing downtime and expenses. "Alex does not miss a beat (or detail) when professionally articulating or addressing a sensitive or pressing operational need for the Dublin campus," his nominator said. "He knows when and how to prioritize the work and developing efforts at hand, ultimately with the campus and student success factors in mind."

In addition to a strong work ethic, Vaughn brings a much-appreciated customer service attitude to his job. "Alex embodies our team-based approach throughout all he does," said his nominator. "No matter the circumstance or request, he is there with a positive outlook and a smile."


Christian Stork receives award

Christian Stork, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Physiology
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Heritage College, Athens

Physiology Lecturer Christian Stork, Ph.D., is known for going out of his way to make sure students fully understand the material he teaches. "During neurology anatomy, everyone fought to have Dr. Stork come to their table," said his student nominator. "He taught everything in such a clear and concise way. He also came up with great ways for us to remember things."

Recognizing that learning often happens outside the classroom, Stork is also quick to meet with students anytime they need some extra help so they're prepared for their courses and board exams. "He made separate appointments with students to explain the cerebellum," his nominator said. "It was not even his material, but he wants students to learn the most they can no matter what. He also made several appointments with me during board studying to help with physiology that I wasn't grasping as well. He exemplifies what I believe the Heritage College should stand for."

2nd Quarter Recipients


Vishva Sharma receives award

Vishva Sharma, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Heritage College, Athens

Although Vishva Sharma, Ph.D., holds the job title of research scientist, it’s his talents outside the laboratory that have caught the attention of students and colleagues. Over the summer, he served as a faculty member in the Summer Scholars program, where he taught biochemistry to 20 students with disparate levels of familiarity with the subject. “Once he realized that not everyone was coming in with the same level of understanding, he quickly adjusted his lectures and pace to ensure that students were actually learning the material and not just trying to stay afloat,” said his nominator. “Dr. Sharma embodied the mission of helping these students succeed while at the same time giving them a realistic view of what medical school will be like.”

Through his caring and compassionate nature, he touched the lives of 20 prospective medical students. At the conclusion of the course, Summer Scholars noted that Sharma was an open, caring, knowledgeable and available professor with a sense of humor. In fact, the students were so grateful for Sharma’s assistance that they all chipped in and coordinated a catered lunch to thank him on their last day of instruction. “Dr. Sharma did not have to teach in the Summer Scholars program,” said his nominator. “He did so willingly and he cared enough to put time, energy and creativity into teaching a subject that many find challenging. Although he is a soft-spoken man, the passion Dr. Sharma has for students and teaching resonates loudly and clearly to those around him.”


Sherie Steinberger

Sherie Steinberger
Administrative Specialist
Heritage College, Cleveland

Sherie Steinberger, administrative specialist at the Heritage College, Cleveland, always has a welcoming smile and a kind word for everyone she encounters – from Heritage College faculty and staff to students to the man who empties the shredding bin once a week. “She always does everything with a smile and a song in each word she says,” said one nominator. “She makes each person feel welcome and part of the HCOM family!”

In addition to her willingness to provide a helping hand wherever needed, Steinberger also goes above and beyond to actually anticipate people’s needs, providing assistance before the need arises. Her proactive approach to helping others is much-appreciated by newer staff members. “With patience, kindness and a willingness to help whenever needed, she has been instrumental in the success of my training since I started my position, spending many hours ensuring that I was up to speed on all systems and processes,” said one nominator. “She made herself readily available and continues to do so for any questions or issues I run into.”

Much of Steinberger’s work happens behind-the-scenes, including her help with maintaining the room schedules on the Cleveland campus, but her attention to detail and follow-through makes day-to-day campus operations go more smoothly. “I remember Sherie telling me how much she loved her job – and I remember that very clearly because I was struck by how genuine her delivery was when she made that comment,” said one nominator. “After one year of working with Sherie, I would say with certainty that Sherie’s commitment to her work and joy in her job is still very evident.”


Dan Skinner receives CARE award

Daniel Skinner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Policy
Department of Social Medicine
Heritage College, Dublin

As assistant professor of health policy, Dan Skinner, Ph.D., regularly leads discussions about current health care topics and issues of importance to future physicians. But according to his students, it’s his caring attitude and interest in their personal well-being and success that they appreciate most. “He is always quick to ask how students are doing and doesn't hesitate to provide encouragement and support,” said one of his student nominators.

In fact, another nominator said Skinner’s ongoing support was one of the reasons the nontraditional student was able to readjust to the academic environment and successfully complete the first year of medical school. “Dr. Skinner was always there to talk with and give guidance,” said the nominator. “He helped me find a balance between the demands of school and always reminded me to take time for myself. He is a great mentor who pushes me to think outside the box, strive for knowledge and celebrate small accomplishments.”

Skinner also serves as a mentor to medical students interested in research, providing guidance and direction to help them take their research projects to the next level. “Dr. Skinner helped me accomplish my goal of presenting a poster at a national conference,” said one student. “This was an amazing experience for me, especially as a first year.”

1st Quarter Recipients


Barbara Pietro receives award

Barbara Pietro, Ph.D.
Learning Services Specialist
Office of Student Affairs
Heritage College, Dublin

In her first year as learning services specialist at the Heritage College, Dublin, Barbara Pietro, Ph.D., has worn multiple hats. As job vacancies were being filled, she provided back-up assistance to the curriculum coordinator position, all the while still learning and supporting the core components of her learning services position. “Barbara’s genuine comforting and caring approach with both position responsibilities instantly solidified several student support relationships, being viewed as a go-to resource for current and entering classes,” said her nominator. “Seamlessly, she was able to establish herself within the role while further strengthening our overall Dublin team efforts focused first on the well-being of our students.”

She has also become an integral team member to OU+REACH planning efforts to engage with area high school students interested in health care careers, and she has led efforts to pilot a new student support initiative using a group-tutoring model. Her reason? It’s all for the students. “Both her personality and her office set-up promote a supportive, non-threatening environment,” said her nominator. “It is both admirable and inspiring with the regard she places to student well-being.”


John Dehman receives award

John Dehmann
Maintenance Supervisor
Office of Administrative Services
Heritage College, Athens

John Dehmann, maintenance supervisor at the Heritage College, Athens, is known for his sunny disposition – no matter what the weather. “He delivers and builds and redelivers and rebuilds without the batting of an eyelash,” said one of his nominators. “I see him all over HCOM pushing and pulling and carrying things inside and out, and he always has a kind word and a smile in both the chill of winter and the heat of summer.”

Dehmann’s upbeat personality and willingness to go the extra mile caught the attention of multiple nominators, including one who recalled a specific encounter crossing West Green on a rainy day. “The difference between the two of us was that John was performing his daily task with a broad smile on his face and with a sense of humor about our mutual misfortune where the weather was concerned. In his simple act of smiling and lending a kind word in an uncomfortable situation, he not only provided a ray of sunshine through the downpour, but ultimately, transformed a coworker's very negative attitude into a positive one through his quiet and joyful example. Sunshine most assuredly follows John through his day-to-day tasks despite intermittent ‘downpours,’ and we at HCOM Athens are so fortunate that he shares that with us so readily, graciously and consistently on a daily basis.”


Ruger Porter receives award

Ruger Porter, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Human Anatomy
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Heritage College, Athens

In his role as human anatomy lecturer, Ruger Porter, Ph.D., gives his all to help his students understand even the most complex concepts. “His lectures aid students in gaining a better understanding of some of the most difficult topics,” said his student nominator. “In addition, his skills in the lab are phenomenal. He is thorough and clear, which makes him a great teacher.”

Whether by conducting review sessions in the lab or by making himself available outside normal lab times, Porter goes “above and beyond” to give students extra assistance to help ensure their success. “He was very kind and quick to respond when I reached out for extra help with lab as well,” his nominator said.